A quick flicker of the lights and then sudden, absolute darkness. But make no mistake, this was no mere absence of light. This was the kind of darkness that suffocates you and makes you question whether you, and the world you could have sworn was around you but an instant before, even exist anymore. Everything gone before I could even take a breath. I stood up and stumbled to where I knew I could find reprieve from the oppressive nothingness I seemed to have fallen into. As I reached the counter, wrapped my fingers around the small box and was about to break the silence and cut through the darkness with the strike of a match I caught a glimpse of it. There, outside the window, beyond the tin roofed homes, beyond the river banks and beyond the distant tree covered hills: one of the rare gifts life seems to give us only when everything else disappears. And with it a thought…
There are some things in life that jealousy suits. But maybe that’s not a strong enough sentiment to fully convey the idea. Jealousy does not only suit these things, like a nice pair of glasses suit someone’s face, but rather it’s an absolutely essential element to their being that enables us to see these things the only way they are meant to be seen. More like the skin of the face itself than the glasses that adorn it. These things are certainly not people because we take jealousy, distort it, and allow it to make us ugly. These things that I’m talking about, on the contrary, take jealousy, wrap themselves in it, and like a butterfly emerging from it’s cocoon, emerge more beautiful than could have been imagined. They are things the world has gifted us that understand their inherent beauty can only be fully appreciated when everything else is gone and they are left alone to overwhelm our senses.
A beautiful piece of music is one such thing. It demands our full attention and accepts nothing less. It is jealous and for the time it takes it to be played it refuses to share us. And we are better off for it, are we not?
It was there, in the darkness of the Ecuadorian jungle, unlit match in hand that I saw what jealousy, in all of its mighty splendor, is capable of revealing to us. It came not in the man made shape of a well composed piece of music, no, it was even better. It came in the shape of an uncountable number of Heavenly-created stars. It was the kind of stargazing that is only possible when the only other source of light is hours and hours away. A sky so completely free of any other kind of light pollution the stars don’t simply dot the sky so much as they fill it, like glitter spilled over an ink black paper.
It was the kind of sky that only comes out when everything else around seemingly ceases to exist. A jealous sky who denies us the ability to look away and whose infiniteness forces us to contemplate our finiteness. To look into that sky was to look into the soul and understand that life is about so much more than me. It was to understand that although I have inherent value as an individual, it is only when I understand that I am part of something larger, something that has come before me and something that will continue long after me, that my life truly discovers its meaning: that my life means very little if it is singled out and taken away from the other lives around me. Like the stars above me, only when they all come out and illuminate each other are we treated to a true spectacle.
So next time you find yourself in utter darkness remember that there is true value in delaying striking the match. The sky is jealous and if you simply look up and indulge it you might see some stars and then who knows what you might learn.